PHT Morning Skate: NHLers react to Sunday’s thrilling Super Bowl finish

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–Wayne Gretzky and Anze Kopitar first met a few years ago on a golf course, and they continue to be friends to this day. Kopitar, who has named captain of the Kings over the summer, has counted on Gretzky’s experience to help him adapt to his new leadership position. “What I do is try to fish for some stories on how he would have done things, how he handled stuff. I try not to impose too much. He’s so gracious…I don’t want him to feel I’m taking advantage by any means. He’s the one guy…when he talks, everybody listens.” (NHL.com)

–Former NHLers Scott Fitzgerald, Brian Bradley, Scott Mellanby, Andrew Brunette, Ray Ferraro and Doug Wilson were, at some point, all selected by teams as part of the expansion to the Sun Belt. Each player has some pretty interesting stories about playing in non-traditional hockey markets. “There was a hotel in Burlingame, Calif. One of our famous trainers Tommy Woodcock lived out of the hotel,” said Wilson. “There was a little sports bar in there called Knuckles, and he would hold court in there. A lot of the fans would come there after games, and we as players would go there after. Here we are sitting and drinking and talking hockey, and with our fans that were just at our games. That happened a lot.” (The Hockey News)

–The Montreal Canadiens have been one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference this season, and with under a month remaining before the trade deadline, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that Marc Bergevin will be “all-in”. Dreger also touched on the Blues and their willingness to deal a guy like Kevin Shattenkirk, who is a pending UFA. Interestingly enough, he mentions that coaches and general managers around the league view Shattenkirk as more of a power play specialist than a top four defenseman. (TSN.ca)

–On Sunday, the Washington Capitals continued showing why they’re one of the powers of the NHL, as they dismantled the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 5-0. Philipp Grubauer made 38 saves in the shutout win. You can watch the highlights of the game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

Lawson Crouse’s father, Mike, was pretty fired up after watching his son drop the gloves in Saturday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks. Dad even waved a Coyotes jersey (with his family name on the back) like it was a flag. This is pretty funny stuff. (The Score)

–Former Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Joe Watson is organizing a series of hockey games in Russia, including an outdoor contest on Moscow’s Red Square. One of the people invited to play against the Flyers, is Russian president Vladimir Putin, who had eight goals in an exhibition games against NHL alumni back in 2015. “They never release Putin’s schedule until 24 hours before because of security reasons, so Putin, if he’s around, he wants to play the game against us.” (USA Today)

–NHL players reacted to yesterday’s thrilling Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons: